Firefox fonts too small in toolbars

For a long time I’ve been using userChrome.css to adjust the size of the fonts in the toolbars in FF. Then for some reason it stopped working (FF 72.0.2 on OpenBSD).

After some digging on the internet I found a solution. You need to use “about:config”.

Type this in a new tab. Accept the warning. Then search for “devp”. This has a line:


In my case the default value for this was -1.0. To get acceptable-size fonts I needed to make it 1.8  (i.e. increase it from a negative to a positive value).

To change this, click the pencil symbol on the right and make the change. Then close the tab. (The symbol to the right of the pencil, which is two curved arrows, returns the value to default. At least it does in the current version but all this keeps changing in different versions of Firefox so you may need to experiment.)

Note 1: doing this will change ALL the fonts in FF, so you will probably need to adjust your font size setting in Preferences.

Note 2: As an alternative to all this you can make the fonts bigger in ALL your programs, including Lyx, Gimp, Lowrtier etc. This is probably the best solution if you are using the X-Window system in Unix or linux. To do this add the following lines to ~/.xsession and ~/Xresources:

Xft.dpi: 120 in ~/.Xresources
xrandr --dpi 120 in ~/.xsession
(Use different values instead of 120 if you prefer.)

[Courtesty of Mark Patruck on]


Gender vs sex

For a long time I’ve thought that  the currnent fashion for  using “gender” to refer to people as opposed to grammar was a recent fad associated with political correctness. But it seems I was wrong. I’ve just come across this in Tristram Shandy (Ch2.XXVIII).

To those who do not yet know of what gender Bruscambille is – inasmuchas a prologue on long noses noses might easily be done by either…

So that puts the usage back at least to 1759.

Book review: Infinite Powers, by Steven Strogatz

Strogatz’s enthusiasm for calculus knows virtually no bounds. “My goal in this book has been to show calculus as a whole, to give a feeling for its beauty, unity and grandeur.” He sees it as a major part of mathematics, with a long history. In this he is unusual. The conventional view is that calculus burst on the scene in the seventeenth century with the work of Leibniz and Newton, entered a golden period of wild expansion in the 1700s, and consolidated its achievements in the 1800s; by 1900 the story was practically finished.

Strogatz, in contrast, sets it in a much wider historical perspective. He doesn’t want to say that it was invented in the late seventeenth century. Rather, he sees its roots extending back to the Greek thinkers, especially Archimedes, and he compares the seventeenth-century development by Newton and Leibniz to the dramatic biological evolutionary event known as the Cambrian explosion that occurred half a billion years ago, gave rise to new types of animals, and shaped the subsequent course of life on earth, Biological evolution and the evolution of calculus are still continuing. Continu reading.